The Music in Me
ABBII Music (release date: April 20, 2019)
By Bob Marovich
Up to this point, Anthony “Chip” Bailey” has been a singer, musician, songwriter, and composer for other gospel artists. In his debut recording, The Music in Me, Bailey proves his own mettle in the spotlight, singing his own songs.
Backed by a team of effective vocalists, a chugging rhythm section, and blasts of brass, Bailey delivers full-bodied Rhythm & Praise selections to the live recording audience that gathered at the Resurrection Center in Wilmington, Delaware.
Early tracks “I’m Excited” and “Rejoice” pair funky rhythm patterns to Bailey’s frictionless tenor. To a breezy calypso beat, “Lose the Weight” is a clever turn on words. The weight he encourages us to shed is not the physical pounds but the pressures and troubles we place on ourselves. Here and elsewhere throughout the album, Bailey scats freely to fill some of the spaces between stanzas.
Opening with dense and complex harmonies evocative of a Take 6 arrangement for a small group, “Righteous” takes its inspiration from Psalms 37:23-25 (“I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken”). By the conclusion, it is rocking in the traditional 12/8 tempo, while vocally incendiary Latoya Bateman Elmore duets with Bailey as the BGVs and musicians raise the temperature incrementally. She could have been used more on this project. The slower and more melodic “All Your Needs” is also culled from the Bible, specifically from Philippians 4:19.
After several high-intensity R&P workouts, “Yes I’ll Trust You” begins as a vocal/piano cool-down ballad, but by the end, after a couple of key changes that challenge the singers’ high registers, it is as robust and muscular as the rest of the selections.
“All We Need is You” sounds like a deliberate attempt to appeal to a younger crowd, but it’s clear that Bailey’s musical sweet spot is not in Urban AC-influenced sacred music but in the more textured song structure that is highlighted on the album.
“Same God” is the single, but to my ears, “Saved” is the album’s most musically interesting piece. Accompanied by acoustic guitar and finger popping, Bailey sings in a high tenor melisma evocative of Jonathan McReynolds. Contrasting with the song’s overall relaxed vibe is a tension created by a nagging ostinato melody with cascading voices and high harmonies by the BGVs.
The Music in Me is a respectable solo debut for Bailey, who is minister of music at Word Alive Worship Center, a church his parents, Anthony Sr. and Glenda Bailey, founded in 2007.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “Saved,” “Lose the Weight”